Wednesday, May 02, 2012


5.30am is not a good time to wake the wife and kids on a Sunday morning so they can drive you to the train station, not if you want a peaceful life. They tend to be very cranky at not having enough sleep and the wife won't let you forget it...not days after, not weeks after...probably never... but I did it anyway. The reason? A training course on How To Make A Low-Budget Feature Film held at the Industrial Scripts' offices in London.

Now I know what you're probably thinking, why go to a course that is primarily designed for producers? The answer is because I thought it would give me a greater insight to what producers have to deal with, the mistakes to avoid and what potential things in a screenplay can eat up a budget. And you know what, the course answered those questions and so much more.

I have to admit a lot of the information, especially some aspects of budgets, raising funds and tax breaks did go over my head, but I did learn the kinds of obstacles that can cause producers problems and projects to fail. I found this very helpful as a writer. For example on a low-budget production even the shortest delay in handing in the finished screenplay can lead to the project folding and the company set up to make the film going bust - as the course speaker Richard Holmes said, "Writers lie!"Lesson: deliver when you say you will and they'll remember you fondly for it. Delays cost and money can easily run out, much quicker and almost over night on low-budget productions. It was also interesting to know how much even the basic stunts can cost, setting someone's head alight for instance costs about £15,000, so on a low-budget film you can only do that once.

It was great course and a great day and I've already recommended it to one of my producer friends. So if you're a writer and you don't think you need to learn about the production side of things... think again! I would highly recommend the course. Let's put it this way - there will be a room full of producers looking for great ideas and the writers with the talent to put them on paper - the saying, 'Shooting Fish In A Barrel,' comes to mind. It's worth noting my little trip to London has netted me one collaboration already.

The course costs £156.99 and is money well spent if you get just one job out of it. If you're serious about your career it would be silly not to book up.

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